Hey hey!

Loved the responses to my post on squeezing in gym workouts when you’re busy.  Great feedback, great tips!

So, week one of summer insanity is officially over, and another is about to start. Phew! It’s hectic, but so far, so good. It was a joy to come home a little earlier than expected on Friday, and have time to throw together a freshly made, nutrient-dense salad of the week:

That would be leftover quinoa, chopped raw veggies (celery, carrots, corn) and leftover roast beets over massaged kale, all topped with some avocado chunks. It felt so good to eat a meal that wasn’t sitting in tupperware!

This weekend also afforded me the first creative breakfast I’ve had in ages, in the form of a vegan overnight oat and banana soft serve parfait, a la Angela, topped with a few farmer’s market strawberries:

‘Twas delish! And I think it was almost as pretty as one of Ange’s creations :)

And since I was working like crazy this weekend, there was also lots of brainfood in the form of fresh juice:

Of course, it’s Sunday now, and as I gear up for another long week, portable and packable meals are at the forefront of my mind. There are plenty of packaged foods that get my seal of approval; you can find some of them in my recommendations section. One happens to be sunshine burgers, which are an incredibly tasty and allergen-free vegan burger. Made from rice and sunflower seeds, they’re rich in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs, so they’re satiating and excellent for life on the go.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about making some sunshine burgers of my own. I love having the option of certain packaged items to pick out when I’m super busy, but I’m also my most happy when I can prepare foods from scratch, and whip up meals from raw materials; that’s what my blog is all about! So I made it my mission this weekend to re-create sunshine burgers, in the hopes that it could be as tasty and convenient as the commercial version.

Over the course of this mission, ambition got the best of me. As long as I was making a cooked replica, I figured, why not make a raw one, too? After all, my blog readers hail from many different perspectives; some, like me, are semi-raw or high-raw; some are just rawcurious; others are closer to all raw. I like to offer up a little bit of something for everyone. So I made it my mission to serve up homemade sunshine burgers, cooked and un-cooked.

Of course, the foundation of both recipes were sunflower seeds, which just so happened to be on sale at my health food store this week. Score! I began with two cups of sunflower seeds, finely in my food processor.

After that, I was ready to begin. It started with the cooked version:

Gena’s Homemade Sunshine Burgers (yields 5)

1 cup sunflower seeds, ground in a food processor or coffee/spice mill
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2/3 cup chopped carrot
2/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)
2 tbsp water
1 tsp Herbamare seasoning (or to taste)

Mix the sunflower seeds, brown rice, flax, water, salt, and Spike seasoning in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Process till relatively smooth (it’s cool if there’s still a bit of texture).


Add the chopped veggies and pulse till the burgers are well mixed, but not entirely without visible veggie pieces. At this point, test the texture. If it’s super thick and sticky, add another tbsp or two of water. If it’s moist enough, you’re done!

Shape into 5 patties, and put on a cooking tray sprayed with coconut oil. Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes, flipping halfway through, till both sides are golden brown and the patties are firm.

Enjoy over a salad, on a sprouted grain bun or English muffin, or plain! I ate one of these on an Ezekiel bun fresh out of the oven, in true summer BBQ style.

Texture:

And topped with a bit of my raw green goddess dressing:

Served up with the customary kale action, it was perfect! Not exactly the same as a commercial Sunshine burger, but quite similar, and delicious in its own right. I will definitely be making these again. Best part? They’re easy to freeze. In fact, in true planning mode, I put one patty aside for the week ahead, and froze the rest. I can’t say how long they’ll keep in the freezer, but I’d guess at least two months is fine.

I’ll be eating mine sooner ;-)

Next up came the RAW version. These were inspired directly from my cooked mix, but also heavily inspired by Ani Phyo’s sunshine burgers (which are fabulous, too!). They, like the cooked burgers, were a cinch to make, once the sunflower seeds were ready.

Homemade RAW Sunshine Burgers (yields 4)

1 cup ground sunflower seeds
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup chopped carrot
2/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup onion (optional)
1 tsp nama shoyu
1 tsp Herbamare seasoning (or to taste)

Mix sunflower seeds, flax, nama shoyu, and Herbamare in a food processor till smooth. Add chopped veggies and pulse till the burgers are well combined, but have some texture.

Shape into four patties and dehydrate at 115 degrees for 3-4 hours; flip, and dehydrate for another 3-4 hrs. If you like, you can cook these in a low-temp till crispy, too.


I knew these would be splendid, because I’ve made a variation on them before. And of course, they were. Case in point: this showstopping office lunch:

That’s raw sunshine burger, tucked into a romaine leaf and topped with agave-mustard dressing, served con salad. YUM.

You’ll notice that a key ingredient in both of these recipes was this stuff:

A.K.A., one of Gena’s favorite kitchen shortcuts. Herbamare is made solely of organically grown, ground vegetables and sea salt. It really makes life easy when you want to season food without chopping fresh herbs or rummaging through your pantry for dried ones, and it takes the mystery out of proportions, too. I can’t recommend it enough for seasoning in a pinch!!!

I believe it’s fine to freeze these, too; I hope so, because I’ve got three in my freezer, waiting to be used this week!

These burgers are not only delicious and versatile, but full of nutrition: sunflower seeds are excellent sources of vitamin E, a rich antioxidant, and thiamin (B1), which helps us convert blood sugar into energy. And we could all use more energy!

Today is going to be another long one. It’s also my birthday! :-) I’ve got to work late, so I don’t have any celebration plans to speak of. But I did take the time to celebrate over the weekend in the form of dinner and juice dates with dear friends, and last night, I celebrated with a vegan dinner at Josie’s and some blissfully lazy snuggling on my mother’s sofa. Which is my kinda celebration. 28 years — crazy!

xo